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After an afternoon in the chaotic crush of Marrakech, having a haven to retreat to is paramount. With its pristine internal courtyard adorned with Moorish mosaic tiling and potted palms, you’d never guess this heavenly, 100-year-old riad is actually a hostel. All rooms include free wi-fi and continental breakfast, as well as the summer essential of air conditioning.
Adler Hostel, Singapore
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Poshtel, thy name is Adler. It’s probable you’ll forget all about the fact you’ll be sharing a room with someone else upon entering the South Bridge Road establishment, mainly because the premises are akin to a friend’s plush holiday home (with a few additional mod cons, of course). It seems hardly fair to pay less than a premium when some rooms include a laundry butler, down duvets and all-day gourmet tea and coffee.
The Bivouac ‘Bivvi’ Hostel, Breckenridge
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Consider this “cabin chic” (yep, that description is perfectly fitting for The Bivouac) hostel a jumping-off point for all things adventurous when staying in Colorado’s natural playground, Breckenridge. Reflecting the typically frosty surrounds with its cosy, log cabin materials, The Bivouac would give any guest a warm and fuzzy feeling – an array of open fires and an outdoor hot tub tends to do that, after all.
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Even if the décor denies its hostel roots, the activity schedule of Curio City could give it away: Monday is movie night (with free popcorn to munch while you devour a locally produced film), Tuesday is salsa night and Wednesday is braai and game night, reminding you of the meat-heavy nature of South African cuisine.
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In a previous life, Freehand was the Indian Creek Hotel – the Art Deco typeface remnant on the building’s façade gives a confident nod to its 90-year history. As it stands now, Freehand houses party-favouring guests, award-winning bar Broken Shaker, a marquee-light adorned courtyard and a generous breakfast that includes freshly roasted coffee and authentic Cuban pastries for a little local flair
Generator Hostel, Stockholm
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Ignore the Brutalist exterior – once you step inside Generator Hostel, you’ll realise it’s as welcoming as an afternoon fika session. Touches of sleek, pale wood abound, offset with unexpected modern, non-flouncy florals. And though the menu of the hostel’s eatery and bar may look simple, expect a gourmet twist on classics such as Buffalo wings and Churrasco steak sandwiches – this is Sweden, after all.
Jam Hotel, Brussels
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The past life of these uptown Brussels quarters is immediately evident – the 3D concrete-carved wall murals, brightly coloured geometric ceiling panelling and matching balsa wood furniture prove the former art school hasn’t lost any of its artistic charm. Here, you’ll likely come for a peek at the decor but you’ll absolutely stay for the rooftop lap pool.
Kex Hostel, Reykjavik
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Kex Hostel might be a less delicious use of a space that was once a biscuit factory but it’s far more impressive. Forget stumbling into a makeshift dive where lodgers loudly revel into the early hours – at KEX, the place to be is the upmarket on-site gastropub Sæmundur í Sparifötunum, where there’s a focus on foraged produce.
Les Piaules, Paris
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You don’t have to forgo your vision of a romantic, Haussmann-tinged Parisian fantasy during your stay at Belleville’s Les Piaules. Upon arrival, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the reception and bar (which serves all manner of local plonk and pâté) for a lively, hipster-owned bistro. But the real highlight is the rooftop terrace, which showcases star landmarks such as Sacré-Cœur, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
Mirante do Arvrao, Rio de Janeiro
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Hostels rarely offer a room with a view – or if they do, it’s likely to frame a backpacker’s snoring face. Mirante do Arvrao is different. Most notably, it’s eco-friendly – powered by solar energy and utilising high-tech sewerage systems to re-use dirty water – but also, the hostel offers an impressive panoramic view of Rio’s Vidigal coastline, just south of the popular Ipanema stretch.
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A major drawback to hostel living is the lack of basic amenities. But this centrally located property avoids this problem by offering them to all guests – towels, linens, toiletries and even daily hot drinks and snacks are all part of the Movylodge experience. There’s another drawcard for furry-friend lovers – it’s pet-friendly.
Onas Hostel and Suites, Córdoba
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If there’s one establishment that could dissolve fears hostels consider dollars over design, book a stay at Onas Hostel and Suites in Argentina’s central city of Córdoba. No expense has been spared and no inch of wall or floor, seemingly, has escaped the wild creative touch that bursts through every room. From hanging basket chairs draped in fur blankets, wall murals fringed by indoor ferns and lush linens plonked on the day beds lining the outdoor pool, there’s plenty to distract you from the fact you’re actually in a hostel.
OON Poshtel, Chiang Mai
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Its façade suggests a café with a Bondi-inspired menu but its interior confirms it’s much more: this relaxed, contemporary “poshtel” could double as Brooklyn boutique lodgings. Potted plants and sparse, Scandinavian-style furniture suggests some dexterity with design and the exposed brick ceilings nudge the whole property further towards New York than Chiang Mai.
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A coastal getaway fit for more than backpacking guests, Rambutan exploded onto the Townsville accommodation scene in 2015 and has gained in popularity since eatery, Stone Throw’s Café and Bar, has been opened for guests. The rooftop restaurant is also a popular choice Southern-inspired cuisine – especially for those looking to make the most of the evening hours.
The Bowery House, New York
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We’ve all considered bunking with strangers just to quell the costs of accommodation in New York. No need at The Bowery House – defying all expectations of a bargain berth, this Lower East Side institution swaps space for creature comforts in the form of 300-thread-count sheets, Italian marble floors and high-pressure rain showerheads. Poshtel, indeed.
TOC Hostel, Barcelona
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Even some of the world’s most established hotels remain reluctant to offer free wi-fi but not the unassuming TOC Hostel – a high-ceilinged, archway-dotted property that doesn’t skimp on the inclusions. Along with an on-site café and bar, there’s also a rooftop terrace with seasonal outdoor pool that easily rivals any you’ll find within a 10-minute stroll of the city’s central square, Plaça de Catalunya.
Together Hostel, Beijing
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Your inner child won’t be able to resist playing forts at this warehouse hostel space. Opened in 2017, Together utilises an inclusive approach to accommodation and we don’t mean 18 to a room: in the centre of the open-plan layout, several beds are encased in tiny houses to create a sleepover atmosphere with a distinctly adult feel.
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In a thoroughly modern building in Tokyo’s Kagurazaka district, the requisite brochure-filled reception and relaxation areas make way for bright, industrially decorated spaces that could easily double as the setting for an upscale fashion boutique. The bar, which serves a sophisticated café menu by day and a 50-strong drink menu by night, is the kind you’ll be happy to spend an extended amount of time in, with lofty ceilings and exposed-bulb light fixtures.
Wellness Hostel 4000, Saas Fee
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It’s a rarity to find accommodation with a wellness focus that comes with a hostel price tag but this hostel in a Swiss alpine village is leading the charge. The activities list is dizzyingly extensive – tobogganing, access to an indoor freshwater pool, snowshoe hiking and settling in for a sauna could all be part of your affordable self-indulgent getaway. Even the cash-conscious deserve relaxation, after all.
Up Next: 12 Thrilling Reads to Kill Time on a Long Layover
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A slew of excellent novels have recently been released in Australia. Stock up before your next holiday to block out the noise and get through all the long waits that are the necessary evil of travel. Brought to you by Penguin Books Australia.